Wednesday, August 16, 2017

ONE TWO THREE FOUR!

Nothing to do with books, but I'm claiming it's art... and what I need for energy on yet another muggy hundred-degree day in the long long string of such days. On this day in 1974 the Ramones played their first gig at CBGB's. They'd been performing for several months at other venues, and their debut album wasn't to come out for a couple of years. But I'm nominating this day as the opening shot in the fight to rescue rock from the then-current world of pretentious soft rock bands and - worse - disco, the plague of the seventies. Think about the Bee Gees and Abba and then clean your mind out with this!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Pictures, and a kludge

I'm making a Pinterest board for Insurgents, and for the last hour I've been trying to upload some snapshots taken in Greece that show how I imagine life in the Esilian mountains where Gabrel and his guerrilla fighters operate. Uploading pictures from the computer is not working so well; the pins show up in the board preview and when clicked on, but on the board they show up as blank spaces. Everything except the picture of the donkey does this! Okay, the donkey's probably cuter than the snaps of stone houses and mountains, but I don't think this is a case of Pinterest exercising aesthetic discrimination. After staring at the pictures and picking them apart in Photoshop, I can't find anything (technical) the donkey has that the snapshot of Monemvasia doesn't have. So I'm kludging it. The pictures will be posted below, then I'll "pin" them from this blog to Pinterest.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Stealing from Bollywood

When I'm writing a book I have mental images of the characters (duh, obviously.) Now that I'm dealing directly with a cover artist it helps if I can find pictures to show the artist. In the case of Gabrel, the guerrilla leader in Insurgents (to be released next month), that was easy; I was already thinking of him as a very young Salman Khan. He was just 24 in his first starring role in Maine Pyar Kiya, in 1989. (Yep, I've been a fan of Bollywood musicals for a long time.)

Gabrel is 23 during most of Insurgents, lying about his age because he's fallen for an "older woman" of 28, and I picture him in the mountains, making trouble for the invading army and looking just about as scruffy as Salman Khan does in this picture.

If my attempt to embed the video works, here he is singing "Dil Deewana" (My Crazy Heart) from that movie. (Okay, okay, somebody else is doing the actual singing. Salman Khan is doing the leaping around and dancing part.)

Monday, August 7, 2017

The book in your head

It's been almost two weeks since I finished the first draft of Survivors. Writing this book has been an emotional journey of ups and downs. Starting with "The background (a society in collapse) is too dark, I don't want to write a dystopia, I'm going to pull back from the depressing stuff." This was succeeded by, "[Expletive], I can't avoid the darkest scenes: the book demands them." Which in turn was followed by "OMG this book is going to be totally depressing, nobody will read it." After which I galloped to the end and suddenly felt that the book wasn't bad. Not bad at all. In fact, pretty good.

I do know that these assessments have a lot to do with my mood and pacing. There were some scenes I felt were necessary but I hated writing them, and afterwards I would be down on the book as a whole. Getting to the end of the first draft - and discovering a good line to close on - was almost as exhilarating as being shot at and missed. But I seldom feel quite as satisfied as this. Usually the joy of completion is tempered by an awareness of problems that are not fatal, but annoying, and that are baked into the structure in such a way that they can't be completely fixed by editing.

But this time, for whatever reason, I've been floating around feeling ridiculously self-satisfied for two whole weeks.

Which is not necessarily a good thing.

For one thing, it's made me hyper-critical of the fantasy novel I'm plotting, so I don't want to work on it.

For another, it's caused me to procrastinate on the first proofreading, because when I do that I'll have to accept the reality of an imperfect book rather than the glowing image in my head.

Time to bite the bullet. I'm going to proof the first draft today, and in the process I will almost certainly be reminded that the book I actually wrote is not as good as the book in my head.

It never is. That's something you have to accept. Accept and move on.